Sunday 22 October 2017

Garda Commissioner insists 'there's nothing sinister' in failure to finish breath test report for PAC meeting

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has insisted there's nothing sinister in the failure by gardaí to complete a report on how almost a million bogus breath tests were recorded in recent years in time for today's meeting of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

TDs had hoped to grill Ms O'Sullivan on an internal garda probe about how the massive discrepancies came about.

However, while two interim reports on the matter have been provided to the PAC, the garda examination of the issue is not expected to be completed until the end of the month.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said this was "unacceptable".

Ms O'Sullivan said the records go back over a number of years and it's "hugely time consuming" to collate all the information.

Mr Cullinane asked when the gardaí first became aware of problems with the recording of breath tests.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said it was late 2015 when issues were identified in the southern region.

Mr Cullinane pointed out that it's now the summer of 2017 and the gardaí still aren't in a position to give an explanation for what happened.

He said he finds it "unacceptable" that an internal garda probe of the issue was not ready for today's meeting of the PAC.

And he claimed the committee "could be forgiven for being cynical about that".

Ms O'Sullivan said she rejects "any suggestion of sinister behaviour".

She said the matter is being dealt with "completely transparently" and full resources have been given to the examination of the breath test issue.

Mr Cullinane said he didn't use the word "sinister" but criticised the situation where the gardaí still can't explain what happened in relation to the breath tests.

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